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S.C. unemployment rate remains unchanged from April to May

Human Resources
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South Carolina’s May unemployment rate remained unchanged from April at 3.3%, with the leisure and hospitality industry adding 4,000 jobs and manufacturing adding 2,200.

While the overall rate remained the same, unemployment rose in every S.C. county, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce’s monthly, seasonally adjusted survey. In Richland County, unemployment rose to 3.2% from April to May, while Lexington County saw an increase to 2.5% from 2.1%.

DEW estimated the number of South Carolinians working at 2,322,089, an increase of 9,435 over the April estimate and up 55,543 from the May 2021 estimate. The agency’s estimate of unemployed people showed little change at 79,162, while the state’s estimated labor force, or people working plus unemployed people looking for work, increased to 2,401,251. That’s an increase of 9,432 from April and of 36,781 from May 2021.

DEW data show that South Carolina has added 12,400 nonfarm jobs month-to-month and 72,200 from May 2021. From April to May, education and health services also added jobs, gaining 2,100, while no industries saw decreases in jobs.

Year-to-year, 22,600 jobs have been added in leisure and hospitality and 18,500 in trade, transportation and utilities, according to DEW. Education and health services was the only industry to see a 12-month decrease, losing 600 jobs.

The Columbia metropolitan statistical area added 500 jobs month-to-month and has gained 3,000 year-to-year. Charleston/North Charleston gained 1,400 jobs from April to May and has added 16,100 from May 2021.

Greenville/Anderson/Mauldin added 1,700 jobs month-to-month and 18,600 year-to-year, while Spartanburg saw respective increases of 500 and 4,400.

“The state’s labor force is up again to 2,401,251, and the labor force participation rate is up to 57.5%. This is ahead of February 2020’s pre-pandemic rate of 57.4%,” Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, said in a news release. “At the same time that we have had all these gains, South Carolina now has the highest number of job openings posted in SC Works Online Services in recorded history with more than 114,000 postings.”

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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